Steam whistles at Pratt (photo by Becky Stern, via Flickr)

Steam whistles at Pratt (photo by Becky Stern, via Flickr)

It’s hard to believe 2013 is already over … we feel like this year just began. But 365 days of art-filled fun have passed us by. This week, we suggest a couple of ways to ring in the new year, from a costume ball to a bike ride to steam whistles to poetry. And after that, it’s back to the galleries and museums. Happy new year, dear readers — here’s to another year of art!

 Bootleggers’ Ball

When: Tuesday, December 31, 9 pm–5 am ($60)
Where: Irondale Performing Arts Center (85 S Oxford Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

This party is not for the faint of heart, or the faint of wallet, but if you want to do New Year’s Eve in style, we can’t think of any better way than a Gemini & Scorpio party. The duo are known for their massive themed and costumed extravaganzas, with no shortage of entertainment. The Bootleggers’ Ball promises an orchestra, a DJ, burlesque acts, aerial and sideshow stunts, a magician, and swing-dance lessons. Just make sure you come prepared! The dress code is “depression glamour, evening ball on the Titanic, hobo formal, desperation derring-do. Effort required.”

 Festive Bike Ride

When: Tuesday, December 31, 10 pm
Where: Starts at Washington Square Park (Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

If costume balls aren’t really your thing, how about a late-night NYE bike ride? Environmental activist group Time’s Up organizes this annual ride, which begins in Washington Square Park and ends at Belvedere Castle, on 79th Street in Central Park, with a dance party and fireworks. Sure, it’ll be cold, but it’ll also be awesome.

 Pratt Steam Whistles

When: Wednesday, January 1, midnight
Where: Pratt Institute (200 Willoughby Ave, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something totally different and slightly off-kilter for New Year’s Eve, we suggest you try the Pratt steam whistles. The arts-heavy college “boasts the oldest continuously-operating, privately-owned, steam-powered electrical generating plant in the country,” where Chief Engineer Conrad Milster also maintains a collection of salvaged steam whistles. Milster has been assembling and blowing them on New Year’s Eve for 47 years, and the tradition continues tonight, although apparently next year will be the last iteration. Go while you still can! But get ready: the whistles are an amazing but deafening experience. As Gothamist writes, “What better way to ring in 2014 than with permanent hearing loss?”

 Poetry Marathon

When: Wednesday, January 1, 2 pm ($20)
Where: The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church (131 E 10th Street, East Village, Manhattan)

After the piercing blasts of the steam whistles, soothe your ears with some poetry. Lots of poetry, actually — hours of it, with over 140 poets. The Poetry Project’s 40th annual marathon benefit reading takes place on New Year’s Day, and it features a pretty incredible line-up, including Anne Waldman, Carolee Schneemann, Eileen Myles, Jonas Mekas, Justin Vivian Bond, Legs McNeil, Lynne Tillman, Patti Smith, Penny Arcade, Philip Glass, and Yvonne Rainer. What better way to ring in 2014 than with creativity (and a good cause)?

 Brooklyn Boys Go Bowling

When: Opens Friday, January 3, 6–9 pm
Where: Theodore:Art (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

OK, so the New Year’s festivities are over, and you’ve already had to go back to work for two days. What do you do with the rest of your week? Gallery openings! Happily, a number of Bushwick spaces are opening new shows at the end of the week, including Theodore:Art. Brooklyn Boys Go Bowling features the work of four “idiosyncratic” Brooklyn painters: Michael Callaghan, Steven Charles, Brian Dupont, and Christopher Moss. They’re united by their maleness and their unique takes on abstraction.

Hermine Ford, "Untitled (325-13)" (2013), oil paint on cotton muslin on shaped panel, 41 x 75 x 3/4 in (via

Hermine Ford, “Untitled (325-13)” (2013), oil paint on cotton muslin on shaped panel, 41 x 75 x 3/4 in (via

 Hermine Ford & Joan Witek

When: Opens Friday, January 3, 7–10 pm
Where: Outlet (253 Wilson Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

If you want more abstraction, this time by women, head down the street (ish) to the newly renovated Outlet. The gallery will be opening a show of paintings by Hermine Ford, daughter of Abstract Expressionist Jack Tworkov and an incredibly talented artist herself. Ford’s latest works are paintings that seem to feature scraps and patterned pieces floating together — plays on the digital aesthetic, trompe l’oeil, and abstraction. There will also be paintings by Joan Witek, who continues to explore repetition and mark-making through the use of black and white.

 Forgotten Shanghai Art Studios

When: Friday, January 3, 5–8 pm, film at 7 pm
Where: The Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City, Queens)

Every first Friday of the month, the Noguchi Museum stays open late and lets visitors pay whatever admission they’d like. The museum also shows a film on First Fridays, and this week’s selection sounds particularly intriguing: The Lost Magic of the Shanghai Art Studios. Directed by Marie-Claire Quiquemelle and Julien Gaurichon, it examines the Shanghai Art Studio:

One of the world’s largest animation studios by the end of the 1950’s, on par with Disney, Shanghai Art Studios completed its most complex and acclaimed animation, The Monkey King, just before the 1965 Cultural Revolution effectively halted its productions. Key players recount its boom years and downfall, including the director Te Wei, whose late 1950’s animations were directly inspired by the ink paintings of Qi Baishi.

 Solitaire Performance

Work by MTAA at Auxiliary Projects (via

Work by MTAA at Auxiliary Projects (via

When: Saturday, January 4, 4 pm
Where: Auxiliary Projects (2 St Nicholas Ave, #25, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

New media conceptual art duo MTAA have taken up residence at Auxiliary Projects, turning the gallery into “a camouflaged quasi-military outpost in an isolated environment.” There are carefully chosen and arranged cultural materials, surveillance, and drinks. On Saturday, there will also be solitaire, as MTAA plays a hand “as a group performance.” We’re not entirely sure what this means, but we’d definitely like to find out.

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...